Old World New
Just like new
Old World New Owner Bruce McKenzie has always been in the furniture business. He started out with manufacturing from an old business based in Queanbeyan, called Bruce McKenzie’s Handcrafted Furniture. It involved taking old and recycled timber including floorboards sourced from demolished houses, designing them, and making them into country-style furniture. Even then, he traded with the Old Bus Depot Markets for 13 years.
As time went by, Bruce sought something different. He’d spent 20 years running his manufacturing business and it was time for a well-deserved change. “I got sick of sucking sawdust,” Bruce says jokingly.
“We take the old stuff and make them new, fresh and funky”
Bruce has since transitioned from manufacturing to focus on upholstery and restoration in his current venture, Old World New. It embraces everything retro and antique. They determine the value of old furnitures, collect them, strip them back, and reupholster them with “funky fabrics”. “Hence, Old World New,” says Bruce. “We take the old stuff and make them new, fresh and funky.”
With the help of Business Partner Jo Nes, Old World New also has a plethora of items that cater to Collectables Sunday on the fourth of every month. Their items range from glass, murano glass, china, West German pottery, Tibetan statues and statuettes, and many more.
As you can imagine, collecting and being selective of the items can be a time-consuming endeavour. Bruce travels across the country for any chance to stumble upon some rare finds. Auctions have also been a great way to find timeless pieces.
What’s remarkable is that the furniture from Old World New doesn’t only date back from the 70’s or the 60’s, but can even be 200 to 300 years old. With the items from the 60’s, it was common practice back in the day to place a coin inside the furniture. “Nine times out of ten, you’ll find that coin and that will tell you the year it was made,” says Bruce. “I have one chair here that had a 1925 coin in it, while the 1700s furniture had lead seals inside them.”
“We keep the old patina as much as possible so you still got the appearance of age.”
The furniture referred to are three chairs that date back all the way from the 1700s. Imported from Turkey and retrieved from the Sydney Blue Mountains, they’re the oldest items in Old World New’s catalogue. Restoring the old items certainly takes a lot of care and attention to detail. All the nails and tacks are removed. Then, it’s about pulling them apart, sanding each piece, glueing them back together, and making sure the furniture is again strong enough to stand the test of time. It’s been a longterm project with one chair ready.
“They’re like a new chair,” says Bruce. “If it’s got good patina, then we keep the old patina as much as possible so you still got the appearance of the age.”
Old World New has traded at the Old Bus Depot markets for over 5 years now. Although the experience of displaying products and meeting customers have stayed the same, Bruce has noticed a difference in their current customer base compared to that of his previous business thanks to the styles of the furniture.
Being a such a staple to the Collectables theme at the markets, Bruce himself is a fan of collectable products and has purchased several from other stallholders in the past. He enjoys collecting walking sticks and bells. He’s also purchased hats from Cool Country Hats.
See Old World New and meet Bruce and business partner Jo on Collectable Sundays, the fourth of every month, at the Old Bus Depot Markets, and particularly on Portobello Road on 12 August for a celebration of antique goods. To catch a glimpse of Old World New’s catalogue, visit their Facebook page.
To stay up to date with the latest news about the Sunday Markets in Canberra, like us on Facebook @OldBusDepotMarkets.